Heritage of Croatia

croatie, dubrovnik
Dubrovnik, les remparts

Croatia can be proud of its 10 cultural, historical and natural sites included in the UNESCO register as world heritage. For a small country, such a density of wonders is exceptional. There is also an indicative list which lists several other curiosities in Croatia.

The classified sites are therefore:

  • The Euphrasian Basilica of Poreč
  • Diocletian’s Palace in Split
  • The Old Town of Trogir
  • Sibenik Cathedral of St James
  • The Stari Grad plain on the island of Hvar
  • The old town of Dubrovnik
  • The medieval stecci tombs
  • The Venetian defense works of Zadar and Sibenik
  • the primary and ancient beech forests of Paklenica
  • and the Plitvice Lakes.

The Euphrasiana Basilica

The Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč is one of the best preserved monuments of Byzantine art in the Mediterranean. It was erected in the 6th century in Poreč, during the time of Bishop Euphrasius. Although it is somewhat smaller than the rest of the preserved basilicas from the same period, it is unique in being the only church of its type with its original structure.

In the 18th century, the entire complex suffered significant damage. Many sections were destroyed and full restoration was not carried out until after World War II. The basilica is richly decorated with mosaics, a true work of Byzantine art (mosaics, which, with those of the church of San Vitale in Ravenna, constitute the most significant examples of mosaic art in Europe). The basilica is also decorated with stucco and plaster inlays.

Diocletian’s Palace in Split

palais de Dioclétien
Diocletian’s Palace

Diocletian was a Roman emperor who spent the last years of his life near Aspalathos in Dalmatia, where he was born. He built an enormous palace there. The original architecture has been modified over the centuries, however, the overall structure has changed very little.

The city developed within the Roman walls. Even today, the beauty of the palace and mausoleum of Diocletian, the temple of Jupiter, colonnades along the streets, Christian churches, romantic houses, architectural works of George the Dalmatian, characterize the historical core of modern Split . The site was added to the World Heritage list in 1979.

The romantic city of Trogir

Trogir, saint lawrence cathedral
Cathedral of Trogir

The romantic city of Trogir was founded by Greek settlers from the island of Vis in the 3rd century BC. On this historic site lies the Old Town of Trogir, which has preserved the best of Central European Gothic art. The medieval city of Trogir is surrounded by its original walls, which are particularly well preserved, as are the towers and structures of numerous Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance palaces.

The most important structure is Trogir Cathedral, with its western entrance door, a masterpiece by Radovan and a jewel of Romantic-Gothic art in Croatia.

Šibenik Cathedral

Sibenik, la cathédrale
Cathédrale Saint Jacques

St. James Cathedral in Šibenik is a three-nave basilica with three apses and a dome (with an interior height of 32 m). The construction of this cathedral was started in the Venetian Gothic style and was completed in the Tuscan Renaissance style. It was completed in 1555. Construction began in 1431 on the site of a small cathedral which initially occupied the land. Moreover, the cathedral was built with many materials and elements from the old church.

In 1444, George the Dalmatian took over construction. Under his direction, the two side naves, the sanctuary, the apse decorated with a garland of 74 heads (considered to be a portrait of prominent citizens of Sibenik) and the sacristy were erected. Nicolo continued construction (with the completion of the side naves, the dome and the project of the stone ceiling vaults).

Dubrovnik Old Town

Dubrovnik croatia, stradum street
On the main street of Dubrovnik in the early morning

Dubrovnik is a city of exceptional history, a heritage of great beauty and world renown. It is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is also one of the most attractive and famous cities in the Mediterranean.

The walls of the old city of Dubrovnik contain a collection of public and private buildings, built at different times, which bear witness to the rich history of the city, since its creation at the beginning of the 7th century. Don’t miss visiting the city’s must-see places: Stradun which is the main street of the city, the rector’s palace, the Saint-Blaise church, the cathedral, the three large convents, the buildings of the Town Hall and the customs administration. The city of Dubrovnik has its own political and territorial entity.

Plitvice national park

Cascades du parc de Plitvice
Sunset over Plitvice

Plitvice National Park is made up of 16 lakes connected by 92 waterfalls. The park site is located between two massifs: Mala Kapela and Lička Plješivica.

The park is divided into upper lakes (Proscansko, Ciginovac, Okrugljak, Batinovac, large, small, Whirlpool, Galovac, Charme, Jezerce, Burgeti and Kozjak) and lower lakes (Milinovac, Gavranovac, Kaludjerovac and Novakovic Brod). The highest in altitude is Proscansko (639 m) and Novakovic Brod for the lowest (503 m).

The upper lakes, surrounded by dense forest, are linked together by numerous waterfalls. These lie in a dolomite valley, while the smaller, shallower lakes lie in a limestone canyon and are surrounded by sparse yew bushes. The main water sources of Plitvice Lakes are the White and Black rivers, which meet and form a single river, the Matica which flows into Lake Prošćansko. This lake collects water from the Plitvica River after a fall of 76 meters, making it the highest waterfall.

The upper lakes are separated by dolomite rocks, which form through a natural chemical process. These limestone and dolomitic rocks mainly develop in places where water falls to a certain height, and deposits precipitations of calcium carbonate on algae and moss which eventually form crusts.

The lower lakes were formed by the erosion of underwater cave vaults. In the jagged cliffs located along the lakes and rivers, there are numerous caves including Supljara, Golubnjaca, Mracnjaca, Velika Pecina, etc. Some can be visited. In the park, the first hotel was built in 1861.  UNESCO included the Plitvice Lakes in its natural world heritage list in 1979.

The Stari Grad plain

The UNESCO-listed property is located on the island of Hvar. It is an agricultural complex which has hardly been touched since the 6th century BC. The cultivation of olive trees and wine takes place in a maze of plots (the Greek chora) delimited by dry stone walls and decorated with small buildings. The site is also a nature reserve.